This guide is the first in the new format of 'Country Guides' we will write to try and provide some of the information we struggled to obtain while researching our trip to Romania. It is based on our own experiences and is provided in good faith but your own experience and impressions may differ to ours. We hope that you find it of use and encourages you to visit.


Country Facts
Country Code (RO), Currency RON , Capital Bucharest, Full EU Member (Jan 07). Non-Schengen Country; there are manned border crossings, but no visa requirements for EU citizens. You may be asked for your vehicle documents, there are no import restrictions but there are export limitations for alcohol and tobacco.




Road Vignette Required?
YES. You are required to purchase a vignette for all roads immediately upon crossing the border, a camper van comes under a 'Goods Vehicle' unless and the cost for up to 3.5t was €16 for a month or €6 for a week. If you are over 3.5t then the toll will be €52 for a month and €20 for a week. We have heard of some people getting through as 'private cars'. As of 2011 you will no longer receive a windscreen sticker, instead your registration will be logged on a database. It is worth entering the office with your registration number already written down and ensure that you get a receipt and the details and dates printed on it are correct. The offices only accept Romanian currency and Euro, not Hungarian Forint despite being on the border and are unlikely to accept card.


Toll Roads
YES. Toll roads are rare, however there is one at the Giurgeni – Vadu Oii Bridge over the river Danube on highway DN2A at Vadu Oii and one at the Cernavodă Bridge, on the A2 motorway, a 17 km long section between Feteşti and Cernavodă which consists of two road/railway bridges.


Road Condition ★★★★


Generally Poor. While many of the main arterial routes are on par with Western Europe many secondary roads deteriorate quickly often without warning; the size of the potholes are not to be underestimated! Main roads always pass through villages as there are no such things as ring roads or by passes and extra care should be taken here. Should you stray off these roads then the tarmac quickly disappears and gravel roads are common. If road conditions are a concern plan your route including stopovers carefully, we didn’t allow roads to limit our exploration and suffered no permanent damage.




Driving Standard ★★★★
Generally Poor. Expect to encounter many horse drawn vehicles, homemade contraptions and laughably  overloaded ancient cars and lorries. However given the quality of the roads and vehicles the average speeds can be relatively low and with the exception of the Bucharest area the roads are not sufficiently busy to encounter widespread congestion. That said driving in Romania can be tiring and stressful and it is worth planning regular breaks and not expecting to cover large distances in a single day.

  
Diesel, LPG & Autogas
Limited availability of LPG/Autogas. We saw an abundance of fresh new fuels stations being built all of which accepted card and fuel pumped by attendants. Average price of diesel was £1.08 and LPG 50p in Aug 11.
Useful Links: LPG / Autogas GPS POI for Romaina (to follow)


Winter Tyres Required
YES. The Romanian Ministry of Travel are looking to make Winter Tyres compulsory between 1st November and 31st March however as of Nov 11 this law has not yet been passed. Given the country’s infrastructure and ability to keep roads clear it would certainly be advisable to adhere to these guidelines.


Official Aires / Service Points ★★
None that we are aware of. Know different? Please get in touch. 


Campsites  ★★★★★
Many of the campsites you will find listed are usually gardens of residential properties purchased by European ex-pats and usually filled with people from the same nationalities. Prices usually between £10-£15 however the standards of the facilities can vary greatly but they can be goldmines of information and links to the local community.


Free / Wild Camping ★★★★★
While free camping is perfectly legal and a practice embraced by Romanians you are unlikely to be in the company of other motorhomes while doing so. Locations vary from large open fields near tourist locations to the inside of hairpin bends on the Transfargen Pass, basically anywhere big enough to pitch a tent and light a fire. Rubbish in these areas can be a problem due to lack of infrastructure but don’t let this put you off since Romanian’s themselves are very friendly. It is worth having some small token English gifts to hand, perhaps a shot sized Whisky or Shortbread Biscuits, as we were often on the receiving end of Romanian hospitality but had nothing suitable to give in return. Ground clearance on access roads can also be an issue so it is worth carefully considering your entry and exit strategy if you intend to venture off the paved road. A better strategy for Wild Camping we found was to plan each day to end at a camp site while looking for a suitable Free Camp en-route meaning that should be unsuccessful we were sure to have somewhere to stay instead.
Useful Links: Our Wild Camping GPS page has some locations for Romania


Availability of Fresh Water ★★★★★
Fresh water is often available from Fuel Stations and we had no problems drinking from the mains supply. There are occasionally taps or pumps in villages. Bottled water is available everywhere and in as large as 10L containers from Supermarkets.


Grey / Black Waste Disposal ★★★★
Very few opportunities to dispose of waste, public conveniences were virtually non-existent.


Price Index ★★★★★
Owing to being a poor country Romania will appear incredibly cheap to Western Europeans with entry fees to tourist attractions very low at just £1-2. Typical prices are: Loaf of Bread: 50p, 600ml Beer: 50p, 500g Meat: £2-3.


Food / Supermarkets ★★★★★
You will find all of the Western European supermarkets present in the bigger towns Romania, however some such as Carefour are expensive even by western standards. Penny Market we found gave a good selection of Romanian food compared to Lidl which just seemed to stock the usual, albeit at less than half the price paid in Germany. Do not dismiss the roadside stalls selling fresh produce and kiosks selling bread, however, some of the fruit and vegetables purchased were excellent.


Eating & Drinking Out ★★★★★
As you would expect the cost of eating and drinking out in Romania is incredibly low, Romanian cuisine focuses on simple homemade foods although there are of course the usual outside influences. As a rule of thumb less touristy the place the more 'genuine' the food. Romanian wine is excellent however we found the Romanian beer an aquired taste. 


Availability of Open Wifi ★★★★
Surprisingly unsecured Wifi was often available in Cafes and Bars and even more surprising was just how fast it was compared to the UK!


Our Summary and Posts on Romania:
Romania was an amazing experience and is without a doubt the most interesting country in Europe willing to reward anyone who wishes to take it on. In that respect a visit should be likened more to an adventure then a relaxing holiday.

Our Other Blog Posts on Romania:

Post a Comment

  1. I get on well with the way you write! I do like the star system, sorry to say that the state of the roads (one star) puts me off of going to Romania, but then I would also ave to ask how much a vignette is for a van over 3.5 tonnes (3.8 in our case)but as I said I would probably not go there. You have the right van for the trip and ultimately.... the right attitude! :-) Jane

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  2. This is fabulous - super practical information, and it makes me want to visit Romania. :)

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  3. As a native born and living in Romania I have to say that this is by far the most accurate and objective short guide for travel in Romania.
    Since this (now past) summer I also have travelled to Norway and (of course) Western Europe (down to the Mediterranean Coast of Monte Carlo) I wished to have in my „hands” such a guide(s) for some of the Eastern European countries that I have to pass through.
    You have to take into account that a longer and more detailed visit of Romania should include (among others) a spiritual passage through as many as possible monasteries scattered all over Romania’s territory.
    Our visit in Europe is (unfortunately in Romanian but pictures is some kind of universal language) at http://ungureanueugen.wordpress.com/ with its concentrated and with many more pictures at http://ungureanueugen.wordpress.com/nordkapp-2011-la-un-loc-fabulos/ .
    If somehow you’ll decide to follow a spiritual route in Romania as I said before and you’ll need details I will be happy to provide with them. Just write to me (ungureanu.eugen@gmail.com) .

    On the other hand Congratulations for your trip and Keep going ON!

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  4. Surprised to see that whisky is considered as an "English " gift. But I shouldn't be really, because this kind of attitude that everything in the UK is "English" is widespread.

    As you have a British passport it might be better to avoid such howlers, and say "British".

    Nice blog apart from this. Nice trip too.

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    1. Let us not forget such English Whisy brands as "St George's" "Chapter 6" "Copper House" to name a few.

      Nice blog by the way, we are going for the first time in our motorhome in 2013.

      George Johnson

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